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Livestreaming on this page on Thursday 20 June to Saturday 22 June 2019.

Chicago, Illinois
Thursday 20 June - Saturday 22 June 2019.

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Livestreaming the 2019 Annual LMDA Conference

Crossing Borders, Pt. 2: Action in a Time of Division

Thursday 20 June - Saturday 22 June 2019.

Livestreaming the 2019 Annual Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas Conference: Crossing Borders, Pt. 2: Action in a Time of Division from Chicago, Illinois livestreaming on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network on Thursday 20 June to Saturday 22 June 2019.

Crossing Borders, Pt. 2 welcomes panels, round tables, workshops, and other dynamic conversations about what constitutes “action” for positive social change in a time of crisis; and which illumine how we build pathways to collaboration across imagined and real borders – including, but not limited to, the ones found in our host communities in Chicago. We invite presenters to explore how artists and academics instigate positive action in a time of division, asking:

How might dramaturgs...

  • facilitate necessary conversations within our institutions and communities?
  • promote inclusion on our stages and throughout our practice?
  • shape programming to speak to the pressing issues of the moment?
  • cultivate new audiences and foster new artists?
  • spur political engagement and facilitate direct political actions
  • understand how borders as physical and social constructs impact the way theaters solicit, produce, and commodify art and artists?
  • interrogate how and when dramaturgs choose to reinforce or disrupt borders?

Thursday 20 June

Welcome Remarks / Land Acknowledgement and Invocation
7:30 a.m. - 8 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 9:30 a.m. - 10 a.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 14:30 - 15:00 UTC+0
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Keynote Performance: The Yard
8 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 15:00 - 16:30 UTC+0
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Playwrights Under the Radar
11 a.m. - 12 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-4) / 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 2 p.m. - 3 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 18:00 - 19:00 UTC+0
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Using the popular Hot Topics format, each presenter will get five minutes to sing the praises of their chosen playwright. Ideally, this playwright has had several successful, but local productions.

In Practice: Dramaturging New Work
12:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 2:45 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 3:45 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 19:45 - 21:15 UTC+0
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Observing others’ practice can be a useful method for gaining skills in one’s own, but it’s rare for a dramaturg to have the opportunity to watch their peers at work. In this panel, we’ll aim to pull back the curtain a bit, with an information-sharing discussion among a panel of four dramaturgs who specialize in new work. They will discuss practical, applicable tools they’ve developed for communicating with collaborators, developing resource packets in a reading/workshop context, providing feedback, engaging audiences, and more. There will be an opportunity for all in attendance to share their own suggestions as well.

Unsettling Dramaturgy Panel: Crip and Indigenous Process Design in the Studio, on the Stage, and in the Street 
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 20:30 - 21:30 UTC+0
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Unsettling Dramaturgy is an ongoing project bringing together Crip and Indigenous dramaturgs from across so-called Canada and the United States who work in theatre, dance, and experimental performance. Using digital platforms we gather to build relationships; to explore and document the critical convergences and divergences in our experiences and work; to amplify Crip and Indigenous aesthetics, ethics, practices, and leadership in our local, national and international performance ecologies; to push the conversations from inclusion to centring, from reconciliation to unsettling and decolonization. We invite you to witness a conversation between 5 of the Collaborating Artists involved in Unsettling Dramaturgy where we will engage some of the unfolding themes, embodiments, and dimensions of Indigenous and Crip dramaturgies.

Friday 21 June

Hot Topics with Michael Chemers
8 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 11 a.m. - 12:30 a.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 15:00 - 16:30 UTC+0
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Geoff Proehl: “What’s Out There? New Writing in the Field”
Theresa May: “Decolonization is not a metaphor”
Mark Lord: “An Array of Grids and Spheres: Towards a Dramaturgical Book of Moments”
Neil Blackadder: “The University Dares”
Sara Freeman: “Dramaturgical Processes Keep Walking On”
Desiree Fernandez: “How to Include the Excluded”
Shelley Orr: “Crossing Cultural Borders in Production Dramaturgy”
Karen Jean Martinson: “Imagining a Dramaturgy Lab”
Rhona Justice-Malloy: “On Developing Female Playwrights”
Lindsey Barr: “The Intersectional Praxis of Dramaturgy and Arts Administration”
Jess Kaufman: “Dramaturgy in Devising”
Rachel Levens: “Playwrights as Artists-In-Residence”

A City of Contradictions: A Discussion with Chicago Theater Makers
9:45 a.m. - 11 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 11:45 a.m. - 1 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 12:45 p.m. - 2 p.m. PDT (New York, UTC-4) / 16:45 - 18:00 UTC+0
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This facilitated conversation asks Chicago theater artists, educators, and administrators to consider how we employ dramaturgical approaches to develop programming that speaks to the city’s pressing social concerns. Questions we will consider include: how might the practices of translation, research, writing, and the development of new artistic voices help create space for challenging conversation and divergent perspectives for audiences? What is the work we do (or can do) to welcome in those who are not “traditional” theater-goers? How do Chicago theaters work to cross the divides that separate us geographically, economically, and socially? Finally, what is the role of dramaturgical practice in addressing the inherent challenges we face in Chicago, a (to borrow a phrase from LMDA’s own conference description) “city of contradictions”? 

This panel brings together a broad range of perspectives from Chicago’s theater community—from Artistic and Literary Management, to Education, and Audience Development—to discuss how we employ dramaturgical strategies to promote inclusion on our stages and engage Chicago’s diverse communities in our performance spaces. 

Turning Dramaturgy into Dramatic Criticism
12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 2:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 19:30 - 20:45 UTC+0
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Dramaturgs are the advocate for the audience in any theatrical production when they are working on it from the inside. A Critic is the advocate for the audience when they view the production after it is finished. In the rise of the artist/critic, Rescripted Editor-In-Chief Regina Victor and co-facilitator of The Key, Oliver Sava, will lead a workshop presentation with Key Alum, Dramaturg and Critic Yasmin Mikhaiel. The goal of the workshop will be to help dramaturgs learn how to apply their skill sets to dramatic criticism, including review structure, Rescripted's approach to reviewing, writing pitches, pitching to a newspaper or outlet, and/or building your own platform and following. 

Making the Most of Grad School
2 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 4 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 5 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 21:00 - 22:15 UTC+0
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Led by current University of Iowa Dramaturgy MFA candidates Molly Winstead, Morgan Grambo, and Luke White; along with other current and recent Dramaturgy graduate students from various programs, this roundtable discussion will focus on searching for, getting accepted to, and getting the most out of graduate programs in Dramaturgy. We will begin by discussing the various paths one can take between undergraduate and graduate studies, the merits of graduate studies in our field, and what one should consider prior to applying for graduate studies.  We will attempt to offer insight into successful applications and interview processes. We will then dive into how to make the most of one’s program: from mentorship, coursework, and production work, to how to make the most of summer breaks. The discussion will conclude with a look at post-graduate paths and job hunting. This roundtable discussion is intended primarily for early career dramaturgs and their educators. 

Saturday 22 June


TimeLine Theatre: Case Study of A Dramaturgy Driven Organization
6:45 a.m. - 8:15 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 8:45 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 9:45 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 13:45 - 15:15 UTC+0
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Dramaturgy is in the DNA of TimeLine Theatre Company. A dramaturg was one of the founders, ensuring  the dramaturg’s voice is central to our artistic and institutional structure. Dramaturgs at TimeLine cross borders between departments inside our organization, building teams that, in turn, cross borders to forge connections with audiences and community partners.

This case study will examine the role of dramaturgy in driving TimeLine’s success at crossing borders, including:

Compensation of and inclusion of dramaturg as an equal member of the design team;

Building a team that includes production dramaturg and resident dramaturg as well as artistic and marketing staff, to innovate and implement production magazines, discussions and panels, interactive lobby experiences, marketing content and community outreach for each production;

Empowering each production to be a launching point that invites people to use the play and its themes as a call for action to connect back into the community.

Presenters Maren Robinson (Resident Dramaturg), Regina Victor (Production Dramaturg for Too Heavy for Your Pocket), Nick Bowling (Associate Artistic Director), and Lara Goetsch (Director of Marketing and Communications) will share the history, evolution of this approach and invite others to investigate and reimagine these ideas at other organizations.

Chicago Theatre Artists, Activists, and Advocates on Crafting Change
8:15 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 11:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 15:15 - 16:30 UTC+0
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Chicago Theater has undergone major shifts as groups of theatermakers,  activists and advocates have made issues surrounding casting, inclusion, gender, and safety central to Chicago theater conversations and have brought front and center through theater voices that have not been heard.   We'll hear from several Chicago theatermakers who have been making change and are continuing to make a difference in the theater community and the community at large. We'll then break into smaller groups with our panelists and moderators to talk about current problems facing our theaters and our communities  and strategize ways to make change in our own houses.   This panel serves as a vital opportunity to sit down with these artist/activists/advoctes and learn from their successes and continued challenges. Panelists include: Reginald Edmund, Arti Ishak, Josephine Kearns and Lori Meyers.  This session was organized by Maren Robinson and will be moderated by Yasmin Zacaria Mikhaiel.

Who can watch? Who can act?" Casting the Audience in Documentary Theatre
9:45 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 11:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 12:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 16:45 - 18:15 UTC+0
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How to moderate effectively, how to train your audience to give feedback AND how to be entertaining while doing all that!
12:15 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 2:15 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 3:15 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 19:15 - 20:45 UTC+0
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As far as my skills go, this is one of my strengths. I've seen all sorts of moderations go completely haywire at any number of events and the moderator, at every turn, was to blame. Moderation gets a terrible name because it is so rarely done diplomatically and there isn't much training for it. It pains me to see moderation and feedback dropped with the excuse that it is not helpful (and frankly, I hear far too often that exact choice being made). Done well, moderation is illuminating! I've been moderating effectively for over a decade. I now have guidelines for moderating for each event I produce. It's basic, simple and easy to amend. Some questions that will be asked and answered: What are the primary concerns of your playwright for this feedback session? How can you make this session as useful to your playwright as their time is valuable? How do you respond to hecklers? What are the primary concerns when running a room? How do you establish dominance? How do you make the safe space for vulnerable sharing? How do you protect your playwright and their work? We'll create our own moderation session and practice with one another. 

About HowlRound TV

HowlRound TV is a global, commons-based peer produced, open access livestreaming and video archive project stewarded by the nonprofit HowlRound. HowlRound TV is a free and shared resource for live conversations and performances relevant to the world's performing arts and cultural fields. Its mission is to break geographic isolation, promote resource sharing, and to develop our knowledge commons collectively. Participate in a community of peer organizations revolutionizing the flow of information, knowledge, and access in our field by becoming a producer and co-producing with us. Learn more by going to our participate page. For any other queries, email [email protected], or call Vijay Mathew at +1 917.686.3185 Signal/WhatsApp. View the video archive of past events.

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